GELDER, Aert de
(b. 1645, Dordrecht, d. 1727, Dordrecht)
Ahimelech Giving the Sword of Goliath to David1680s
Oil on canvas, 90 x 132 cm
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Aert de Gelder, a pupil of Rembrandt, remained faithful to his master until the end of his life. De Gelder followed him not only in painting technique, but also in his attention to costumes and accessories. He built up a collection of robes, head coverings, armour and weapons, all of which he used in his biblical representations.
In this painting the artist depicted a rather unknown biblical story (I Samuel 21). David, poor and alone, was fleeing from King Saul. He took refuge with the priest Ahimelech, whom he asked for bread and a sword with which to defend himself. The priest gave David the sword of Goliath.